Kate’s new single oozes sass from start to finish. Punctuated with sultry saxophone licks and wry lyrical remarks, this track would be equally at home in a ‘Weekend Vibes’ playlist as it would in a teary breakup vino session. It is rare for a debut track to so clearly define not just an artist but an entire zeitgeist. We can’t wait to see what Kate will do next.
Kate called me half way through a lazy Sunday morning where I’d been tending to my newly planted bronze fennel and salvia. After both quickly confessing to being groggier than we should have been, Kate began to speak openly about everything from her new single and its production to the structural inequalities facing female musicians and past sexual misadventures.
Despite proclaiming herself to be “dead to the world” I found her to be warm, grounded, and eminently funny with a dry understated sense of humour.
"Fuck men – No offence"
Released on international women’s day against the backdrop of Sarah Everard’s death and the police’s controversial handling of her vigil, Kate’s self-proclaimed “feminist anthem” feels almost prophetic in tone. Informed by personal and collective experiences of male audacity, the song came from a general exhaustion of men.
Kate said: “When I was young I had some pretty horrible sexual experiences. Like being sexually humiliated by guys I just shouldn’t have been with - making me feel shit for no reason.”
More recently Kate complained that men she’d been with placed this expectation upon her to fall in love with them over a casual hookup - “Men I’ve slept with just think they’re owed the world,” she explained. "It just came from boys that pissed me off."
She joked that she can’t find anyone to be mean to her anymore because they know she’ll write a song about them.
"It's a really sexy guitar!"
The project started back in March when Kate bought herself a “really sexy guitar” for lockdown. “If I buy a nice guitar, I’ll play it”, she said. The instrument in question, a Fender Stratocaster, was the tool of choice for composing the song which took her less than an hour to write.
“I woke up at 2am with this drive to write a song,” she said, "the less time it takes, the better the track. It started with a more acoustic cut back form but I always had this jazzy sax in mind."
At the start of the UK’s first national lockdown Kate got a job at a covid testing centre where she used her earnings to buy the guitar as well as a laptop with logic on. By buying the software she was committing herself to producing a single.
Growing up Kate was often sidelined by her male musical peers. She added: “I’ve always been in bands and was always told that girls couldn’t play the guitar - That it’s a hard instrument to learn and that I should just stick to singing.”
Partly in response to this the whole production is consciously female driven. Kate explained: “We girls are always overlooked in the industry. Especially producing where most of it is engineering and programming which are pretty male dominated subjects.
"I just think women in the music industry consistently undersell their talents. Girls often feel awkward asking for money and charge less."
"Is this a sign?"
This message flashed up in Kate’s DMs. It was from Naughty Alice, a London based producer, who saw Kate’s Spotify Wrapped and loved the same kind of music.
Little did Alice know that Kate had been trying unsuccessfully to find a female producer to finish her track for months. “YES IT IS,” Kate replied.
Kate tells me she’s an unorthodox musician – “I hardly know what chord I’m playing half the time but I just know it sounds good.” She said that while male musicians often look down on her for this, Alice encouraged her with solid communication.
"I often doubt my own talents with men but Alice was so cool about it," said Kate.
The final mix was done remotely due to covid restrictions, with Kate and Alice exchanging edits since summer last year.
Alice Haine (AKA Naughty Alice) produced the track which features Isabelle Patterson on Saxophone as well as Eva Gorman and Catherine Reynold on backing vocals. Even the video was directed by Orla O’Carroll and Jasmine Rowland.
She did concede that the mixing and mastering was done by a guy, Miguel León, “but he called me girl and was cute,” she joked.
"Sexy but classy vibe"
"The video was the clearest thing for me." Said Kate. Inspired by the black and white French films she loves, the video draws heavily from Bridgette Bardot’s “sexy but classy vibe”.
“It’s about leaving it to the imagination. All my friends are fit and so I just told them to wear what they wanted. It’s about doing it for ourselves more than anything.
"Sure it’s sexy but it’s making a point.” She then laughed that at the end of the day sex sells and she was actually manipulating guys into listening to the music.
When asked if she had anything to add, Kate replied almost instinctively with three little words…
"Burn the patriarchy".
Looking to the future, Kate has some collaborations on the way. The most recent is a feature on Scrannabis’ new release Butterflies.
Beyond that, work commences on her next single – safe to say we’re all very excited to follow her career here at TRLBLZR.
Beauty Sleep is out now - To watch the full video, head to @katebnd on Instagram.